Here are a few photos from the inaugural burn of the pyramid kiln. We started a bit late, and we wanted to cook dinner, so we did not fill the kiln all the way to the top. The shishkabobs were waiting and we wanted to cook them! There was plenty of heat and they cooked really fast.
I have done two burns now with the pyramid kiln. It has about twice the volume of the smaller cone kiln. And - it's easier to use. The square format accomodates stick shaped wood more easily. It was always a challenge to make a neat layer without any gaps in the round cone kiln. Also, because it is bigger, it puts out more heat energy so the whole process goes a bit faster. I have not noticed any difference in the amount of smoke generated. The corners are bit cooler, as you would expect, but it still seems to char the wood just fine.
Another plus is that it was much easier to make than the round kiln. Kevin just cut the pieces from flat sheet steel and welded the edges together, adding some square tubing around the top edge for stability. The round cone was a big challenge for his small welding shop. Without a differential slip roller, he had to use brute force (several big guys) to bend the cone and weld the seam. Not something he wants to do again!
Dimensions of the pyramid kiln are 46" top edge; 18" bottom edge; and 27" along the angled edge. It was made from a 4'x8' piece of 11 gauge sheet steel. The sheet was cut into two, 2'x8' strips, and the 4 trapezoidal shaped sides were cut out of that. Square tubing was welded along the top edge for stability.
The photos below show the construction:
Al Z. welds the sides
Pyramid kiln on welding stand
Al Z. - welder
Kevin - "practical man" and owner of the welding shop
Backyard Biochar This site has descriptions of my experiments with Flame Cap Kilns. I also report on work by others.
US Biochar Initiative I am on the advisory board of the USBI. We are sponsoring the 5th North American Biochar Symposium in Corvallis, Oregon - August 22-25, 2016
Illinois Valley Forest Collaborative I've been involved with the group in my hometown for several years. We are working with the US Forest Service on hazardous fuels and small diameter timber sales. Biochar is a part of what we do.
Umpqua Biochar Education Team (UBET) I am working with UBET on a Conservation Innovation Grant from the USDA-NRCS. We are helping small farmers learn how to make biochar and use it to manage manure and make premium compost.